What is “A Taste of St. Joes?”
“A Taste of St. Joes” is an event similar to what Heritage Days is, but with the intention to assist students in making their own judgment and in becoming critical, compassionate global citizens. The event is for students who have a deep passion for their culture and who also wish to explore other cultures. This allows the students to optimize their understanding of their culture and those of other by presenting their heritage through exhibits, ethnic food, traditional attire, performances, prayers, and presentations.
This year, the 11th annual “A Taste of St. Joes” took place on November 18th, raising approximately $3500 sent to the Philippine Relief Fund, as well as, Chalice Christian Child Care International. This fund will be doubled by the government of Canada to support the Philippine charity. Also over 200 students participated with 29 countries being represented.
How long has the event been going for?
“A Taste of St. Joes” has taken place for the past 11 years. Before that, when I used to teach in ESL (English as Second Language), we had a similar event called “A Taste of ESL.” That event alone took place for 9 years, which makes this tradition 20 years old. However, unlike the current event, “A Taste of ESL” was more private and personal, because it wasn’t open to the general public like it is now. It was solely reserved to members of the school board, the students, and the teachers and staff members who were invited for being considered influential aids for the ESL students.
What has been the public response to the event?
The general response has been extremely positive, as everyone enjoys the entertainment, the food, and the building of community. In the past, we have had a lot of media coverage but it is a true testament, when you witness former alumni returning to enjoy the wonderful event.
What are your thoughts on the concept of multiculturalism?
Particularly, in Canada, multiculturalism has been all about tolerating, embracing, and accepting different cultures. Not one culture is better than another. We are one world one family. As we learn from various cultures, we learn about the differences and similarities that makes each culture unique.
In what direction do you think our society is heading in regards to multiculturalism?
In a very positive direction, most definitely. For example, watching the students in “A Taste of St. Joes,” gives one a sense that the students are very tolerant and accepting of the many cultures that we embrace at St. Joe's. As the students were building their bulletin boards, there was a sense of family and community. Everyone was helping one another. They were collaborating well by sharing ideas and exploring the differences and similarities of traditions in their own culture.
Multiculturalism is definitely becoming one of the key social forces to Canadian society, and there are various divergent views of whether this is a good influence or not? However, through events such as “A Taste of St. Joes” or “Heritage Days,” it is clear how meaningful this is to the society we live in and how this social force manifests itself in our everyday lives.
Photo by Vicenta Quintanilla